London Korean Links

Covering things Korean in London and beyond since 2006

LKL book database logo

The North Korean Conundrum: Balancing Human Rights and Nuclear Security

North Korea is consistently identified as one of the world’s worst human rights abusers. However, the issue of human rights in North Korea is a complex one, intertwined with issues like life in the North Korean police state, inter-Korean relations, denuclearization, access to information in the North, and international cooperation, to name a few. There are likewise multiple actors involved, including the two Korean governments, the United States, the United Nations, South Korea NGOs, and global human rights organizations. While North Korea’s nuclear weapons and the security threat it poses have occupied the center stage and eclipsed other issues in recent years, human rights remain important to U.S. policy.

The contributors to The North Korean Conundrum explore how dealing with the issue of human rights is shaped and affected by the political issues with which it is so entwined. Sections discuss the role of the United Nations; how North Koreans’ limited access to information is part of the problem, and how this is changing; the relationship between human rights and denuclearization; and North Korean human rights in comparative perspective.


  • North Korea: Human Rights and Nuclear Security Robert R. King and Gi-Wook Shin
  • The COI Report on Human Rights in North Korea: Origins, Necessities, Obstacles, and Prospects | Michael Kirby
  • Encouraging Progress on Human Rights in North Korea: The Role of the United Nations and South Korea | Joon Oh
  • DPRK Human Rights on the UN Stage: U.S. Leadership Is Essential | Peter Yeo and Ryan Kaminski
  • Efforts to Reach North Koreans by South Korean NGOs: Then, Now, and Challenges Minjung Kim
  • The Changing Information Environment in North Korea | Nat Kretchun
  • North Korea’s Response to Foreign Information | Martyn Williams
  • Human Rights Advocacy in the Time of Nuclear Stalemate: The Interrelationship Between
  • Pressuring North Korea on Human Rights and Denuclearization Tae-Ung Baik
  • The Error of Zero-Sum Thinking about Human Rights and U.S. Denuclearization Policy | Victor Cha
  • Germany’s Lessons for Korea | Sean King
  • Human Rights and Foreign Policy: Puzzles, Priorities, and Political Power | Thomas Fingar

Source: publisher’s website

Entry on here.

* Where the book is available from a number of sources, they are prioritised as follows: (1) Amazon UK site, or for the more recent uploads (2) Amazon US site (3) Other sites in US or Europe, including second-hand outlets (4) LTI Korea, where the title is advertised as available from there (5) Onlines stores in Korea. Links to and Amazon UK site contain an affiliate code which, should you make a purchase, gives a small commission to LKL at no additional cost to you.